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Pure by Jennifer L Armentrout Book Review

Updated: Jan 18, 2023


by Jennifer L Armentrout

Published by Spencer Hill Press

Book 2 in the Covenant Series

There is need. And then there is Fate...

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn’t exactly awesome—especially when Alexandria’s "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth’s in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom—so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do—and sacrifice—for her. When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies—lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn’t blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her. When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone


Foul Language #YoungAdult Action

Violence #Mythology Emotional

Some steamy scenes #Romance


Pure by Jennifer L Armentrout it the second book in the Covenant series and holy. Shit.

Sorry. Had to type that. I'm still emotionally ripped apart.

Pure starts off a couple of weeks after the events of the first book, half-blood, with school now in session, and it's not proving to be easy. School, and training with both Aiden and Seth, soak up all of Alex's time and energy. Pile on top her struggles with what happened with her mother in the last book, her physical scars from the encounter, all the unknowns with being the second Apollyon, Aiden breaking her heart, and having her peers treat her like she has committed some crime ... well, it's a lot. Especially for a teenager girl.

This. Book. Didn't. Disappoint. Its filled with action, romance, lust, and heartbreaking events that will make you bawl (I did!), but you won't be able to put the book down. It highlights themes that we face every day in the real world, like the injustice of inequality, and the consequences of it. Actually, consequences is a major theme to this book.

Let's focus on our three main characters. I love Alex. The best word to describe her is wild. It's a good and a bad thing. She is fun to read. Her attitude and her inability to swallow down inequality of the world she lives in is wonderful. Is she perfect? Gods no. (Ha. See what I did there?) ... honestly though ... she is a 17 year old girl. I like that she is flawed. She is reckless and doesn't think before she speaks ... often. Aiden ... well, it would be easy to dislike him, but I can't help but love him for the fact that he isn't being the way he is to hurt her. He is also sacrificing his happiness, so that she can have a life. He knows if they were caught together, he would get a slap on the wrist, and she would have everything taken from her. His moments of weakness are understandable, but I get how they mislead and hurt Alex even more. Now Seth. I have seen Jennifer Armentrout fans say they dislike Seth, and I'm left wondering why. Yeah, he can be a tool. He is arrogant. But he is there for Alex. Sure, it can be argued that he does it for himself, because he feels her pain, and wants her happy so he is happy ... but I feel it's more than that. I don't think he loves her. I don't get the "in love" vibes from him. But I think he does love her in his way, and yes, lusts after her. I'm giving him a chance. It's not like he is getting in the way of Aiden and Alex ... Aiden's self-control, and the rules are in the way. I get big "best friend" vibes from him.

Pure was an amazing continuation of Alex's story. So much happens in this book, and there were many parts where I was laughing, definitely crying (ugly crying), and wanting to pull my hair out. Jennifer Armentrout proves time and time again how great of a writer she is, and I can't wait to continue the series with the next book.

Where to Buy

Paperback (amazon)

Jackson: "Always on your back, huh?"

Alex: "Yeah, that's more like your girlfriend. Get off."

Romvi: "Many of you aren't ready for graduation. Many of you will die the first week on the job, but you, Miss Andros? You're an embarrassment to the Covenant."

Romvi was an embarrassment to the male race, but he didn't hear me bitching.

Aiden: "You should never be ashamed of these scars, Alex. Never."

Alex: "I'm not a daimon, you skank."

Lea: "If it looks like a daimon, then ..."

Caleb: "Lea, go screw someone and tan, in whatever order. No one wants to hear your crap. And that's the funny thing about you, Lea. You think everyone cares what you have to say, when all they care about is how easy it is to get you on your back."

Olivia: "Or how the Instructors found a bottle of Brew in your room last week. Didn't know you were into such freaky stuff, or maybe that's how you get guys into you."

I snorted

Alex: "Wow. Drugging guys to sleep with you? Nice. I guess that's why Jackson practically humped my leg in class today."

Lea: "She broke my nose again! You can't let her get away with this!"

Alex: "Oh, shut up. The docs will fix it. Half your face is plastic anyway."

Marcus: "Now, I'm pulled out of an investigation that will make or break my career here, all because my half-blood niece broke a girl's nose in the cafeteria ... with an apple, of all things."

Alex: "She accused me of being a daimon!"

Marcus: "So your natural response is to throw an apple at her face hard enough to break a bone?"

Alex: "She said I was the reason her parents were killed."

Marcus: "I'll ask you one more time: So you decided to throw an apple hard enough to break a bone?"

I wiggled uncomfortably

Alex: "Yeah, I guess so."

Marcus: "Is that all you have to say?"

Alex: "I didn't think the apple would break her nose."

Alex: "Am I, like, grounded or something?"

Marcus: "Until further notice, and do not even think of arguing with me. You cannot go unpunished for this."

Alex: "But how can you ground me?"

Marcus: "You broke a girls nose with an apple."

Clive: "You think you can get away with anything, don't you? You're the dean's niece, the Minister's stepdaughter, and the next Apollyon. You're just so damn special, aren't you?"

I jerked my arm free

Alex: "Yeah, I'm that damn special."

Clive: "Just remember you're still a half-blood, Alex."

Alex: "Just remember that I am the dean's niece, the Minister's stepdaughter, and the next Apollyon."

Clive stepped up, his nose almost touching mine

Clive: "Are you threatening me?"

Alex: "No. I'm just reminding you of how special I really am."

Alex: "Where's Seth?"

Aiden's eyes glittered with amusement

Aiden: "He's with the Minister. Would you prefer him?"

Alex: "No!"

Alex: "So let me get this straight. You think it's okay for them to restrict where we can go and what we can do? That they can search are rooms at any time? You think it's acceptable for them to subject us to full body searches? And it's okay for them to launch a witch hunt the moment they think there's another daimon?"

Aiden: "No one's starting a witch hunt, Alex! I agree that certain measures have to be taken, but I don't agree with -"

Alex: "My gods, you're just another pure, Aiden! You're no different than the rest of them. How irrational of me to think otherwise."

Aiden flinched as if I'd hit him

Aiden: "I'm no different than the rest? Do you hear yourself?"

Alex: "Whatever. Who cares, right? I'm just a half-blood."

Aiden: "How can you even say I'm like the other pures? Answer me, Alex."

Alex: "Because ... because you should know that those rules aren't fair to us!"

Aiden: "This isn't about the damn rules, Alex. I'm like the other pures? You really believe that?"

Alex: "But you think -"

Aiden grabbed my arm, pulling me right against his chest.

Aiden: "If I was like every other pure-blood, I would have had you by now, without even thinking about the consequences for you. Every day is a struggle not to be like them. So don't tell me I'm like other pures."

Seth: "Should I kiss it and make it better for you?"

Alex: "Thanks, but I'll pass."

Seth: "I've been told my lips can make a girl forget just about anything. You should try it out."

I wrinkled my nose

Alex: "Look, you can leave now. You apologized. Bye."

Seth: "I think I'll stay. I kind of like it here."

Alex: "What? You can't stay. It's against the rules."

Seth laughed deeply

Seth: "Since when do you care about rules?"

Alex: "I'm a changed person."

Seth: "When did you change? Just right now? 'Cuz I heard about your smackdown in the cafeteria yesterday. By the way, that was made of awesome."

Alex: "Do you think I'm irrational?"

Seth: "Is that a trick question?"

Alex: "So I'm irrational?"

Seth: "You're a bit crazy. You throw apples in people's faces when you're angry. You go off half-cocked half the time. It entertains me to no end. So if you are irrational, I hope you stay that way. I love it."

I frowned

Alex: "All of that sounds really good. Thanks."

Seth: "Rational is mundane and uninteresting. Why would you want to be that?"

Scooting back once more, I kicked him in the thigh.

Alex: "You're a pain in my -"

Seth: "I think we'll work on how to control your anger."

I moved to kick him again, but he caught my calf.

Alex: "Let go."

Seth: "Don't kick me again."

Our eyes locked

Alex: "Let. Go."

Laughing, I rolled my eyes

Alex: "Wow. You're so humble."

Seth: "Why should I be humble? I'm great."

Alex: "I yelled at Aiden in training."

Seth: "I'm afraid to ask."

Alex: "He agrees with the new rules. So I yelled at him."

Seth: "And he said you were being irrational, huh?"

Alex: "Yeah, so I yelled at him some more."

Deacon: "It's not you personally. A lot of us are freaked out right now."

Alex: "That's nice to know."

Deacon: "You asked."

Alex: "I did."

Deacon: "Besides, you should be nice to me."

I cracked a half smile for him

Alex: "I'm always nice to you, Deacon."

Deacon: "Yeah, but you need to be nicer. I'm losing a lot of cool points being seen talking to you."

I glared at him.

Nurse: "We will take you in one at a time. We will make this as fast as possible for you. Any questions?"

I raised my hand, heart tumbling over itself.

Nurse: "Yes?"

Alex: "What if we don't agree to this?"

Nurse: "There's nothing to be worried about. It will be over within a couple of minutes."

I nodded slowly, feeling the eyes of the other halfs on me and the Guards shifting uncomfortably.

Alex: "Yeah, I'm not down with this."

Nurse: "But ... you have no choice."

Alex: "But I do and I'm choosing no. And if you don't like that, then I'd like to see you try to make me do this."

That was pretty much when the Guard behind me decided they were going to try to make me do this. And that is when I decided I was going to be hitting someone again.

Alex: "Okay. I'm done."

Guard: "We'll decide when you're done."

Seth: "No. I will decide when you are done. And you are done with her."

The weight on my chest suddenly vanished, along with the guard. She flew across the med room, slamming into one of the many carts lining the walls. I rolled onto my knees, drawing in air.

Seth took one step into the room, eyes simmering with anger.

Seth: "You. Help her up now."

Guard: "But ... we have our orders. She refused to comply."

Seth: "You must not have paid close attention. The Minister gave orders for all halfs to be searched, but not his stepdaughter. I doubt he will be pleased to know you three disobeyed him. Why have you not helped her up yet?"

The guard who had spoken darted forward and gently placed me on my feet

Seth: Apologize to her. All of you."

Alex: "Seth, that's not -"

Seth: "Be quiet, Alex. I want to hear them apologize."

My brows shot up

Alex: "Excuse -"

Guard: "I'm sorry, Miss Andros. I beg your pardon."

Seth looked pointedly at the other guards. The female Guard limped forward, apologizing profusely. When I nodded, they filed out of the room, leaving Seth and me alone for a few moments.

Alex: "You didn't have to make them apologize, Seth. They were just doing their jobs. You didn't -"

He stood directly in front of me, moving so fast I hadn't even registered it. He caught the edge of my chin with the tips of his fingers, looking me over.

Seth: "A 'thank you' would be nice. I did stop them, you know."

Alex: "Thanks."

Seth arched a brow as he tipped my head back

Seth: "You could also sound like you mean it."

Alex: "I do mean it, but you embarrassed them."

Seth: "You beat the guards up when they were just doing their jobs. I guess we're even."

Seth: "I only have enough room in my head to be concerned about myself and you."

I snickered

Alex: "I'm surprised you have any room to think about anyone but yourself."

Seth: "Me too. I don't think I like it, actually."

Aiden caught my chin again

Aiden: "That's not what I was going to say. You worry too much, Agapi. I'm not going to say anything to anyone. Not a single word of this, but that doesn't mean I'm going to forget."

Alex: "What does the mean?"

He smiled, but it seemed off and a little sad.

Aiden: "Well, you need to get some rest, and you need time to just chill out. I don't know. I'll think of something."

I covered his hand with mine. At once, he let go of my chin and threaded his fingers through mine.

Alex: "What does Agapi mean?"

Aiden sucked in air

Aiden: "What?"

Alex: "You've called me Agapi ... a couple of times. It sounds beautiful."

Aiden: "Oh. I ... I didn't realize I had."

He pulled his hand free

Aiden: "It's the old language. It doesn't really mean anything."

Aiden: "I really need to find a way to bar those doors."

Seth shot Aiden a look

Seth: "I really wish you'd try."

Aiden: "Don't you have something you should be doing? I cannot believe your sole purpose of being here is to help Alex a few days a week and prowl the halls of the female dorm."

Seth: "Actually that is my sole purpose. Didn't you know? I'm here -"

Alex: "Um, is practice over, Aiden?"

Aiden: "Yeah."

His eyes stayed on Seth

I felt there was a good chance he might stab Seth. There was also a good possibility Seth might zap Aiden.

Alex: "Okay. Thanks for the practice ... and everything."

Seth smirked and raised his brows at Aiden

Aiden: "No problem."

On the way out, I grabbed a fistful of Seth's shirt.

Alex: "Come on."

Seth: "What? I think Aiden wants to hang out with me."

Alex: "I'm not supposed to be hanging out with friends."

Seth: "Then I guess it's a good thing that you and I aren't really friends."

Alex: "Whatever. Shut up."

Seth: "Then let's play, Alex."

He considered grappling "playing" only because it did involve a lot of rolling around ... and at times, hair pulling. And I think Seth used it as an excuse to cop a feel. Like right now. I knocked his hand off my butt.

Alex: "You're such a dog."

Seth: "And your grappling skills suck."

He pinned me for a third time

Seth: "Most females suck at it. It's basic body strength. Males have more mass. SO you need to stay on your feet."

Rolling my hip, I managed to knock Seth off.

Alex: "Yeah, I think I grasped that already."

Seth: "So, you slept like a little baby Apollyon last night. I wonder why."

I glared at him. Seth had stayed the night again.

Alex: "I loathe you."

Seth: "You reluctantly like me."

Seth: "Aw, did you just fall?"

Alex: "No. I attacked the floor."

He dropped down, planting one leg on either side of mine. He caught my chin

Seth: "What were you and Aiden doing in practice yesterday?"

I grabbed Seth's wrist, intending on snapping it. He slipped his hands away.

Alex: "We were practicing, and why do you need to sit on me to talk to me?"

Seth: "Because I can and I like it."

Alex: "Well, I don't like it. So get off me."

He leaned forward instead, his face only inches from mine.

Seth: "I don't like your practices with Aiden. So no, I won't get off."

Alex: "You just don't like Aiden."

Seth: "You're right. I don't like him. I don't like the way he looks at you, and I really don't like the way he looks at me."

Alex: "Aiden doesn't look at me weird. And he looks at you that way because you are weird."

He laughed

Seth: "Yeah, I don't think so."

Alex: "What?"

I shrieked. Seth flinched and scooted away.

Seth: "Ouch. Damn, Alex, I can only imagine what you sound like in the throes of -"

Alex: "Are you serious?"

I rolled my eyes

Alex: "Oh, so they're going to make the dorms co-ed? Yeah, that is going to go over well. Everyone's going to be having sex."

Seth: "Sounds like my kind of place. Maybe I can get a transfer."

Seth: "Alex, everything has already changed. Don't you see that? There are two of us. Everything changed t he moment you were born."

Olivia: "Hey! Hey! You little pervs, go get a room!"

Rolling my eyes, I trailed behind her.

Olivia: "You guys need to - oh."

Alex: "Oh. My. Gods!"

I shrieked, wishing my hands were empty so I could cover my eyes - or claw them out.

Golden eyes, full of amusement, met mine.

Seth: "Is there something we can help you two with?"

I whirled around, squeezing my eyes shut. My face felt like a thousand shades of red

Olivia: "No. Nothing at all. Sorry to interrupt."

Olivia backed up.

Seth: "You sure? There's always room for one - or two - more."

Elena: "Seth!"

Olivia: "Well."

Alex: "Yeah ..."

Her lips pursed

Olivia: "I hate Seth. I think he's an ass, but he does have a really nice butt."

Alex: "Yeah ..."

The knock came again, more urgent. Groaning, I went to the window and opened it.

Alex: "What?"

Seth: "Nice jammies."

Alex: "Shut up."

I grabbed a sweater off the bed and slipped it on.

Seth: "You know, I don't care about the tag marks. Makes you look dangerous in an extremely hot way."

Alex: "It's not the marks I'm covering up, and you know that."

Seth: "Partly true and partly a lie. The scars embarrass you, because you're incredibly vain for a chick who wants to be a Sentinel. And you're uncomfortable being half-naked around me -"

Alex: "I'm not half-naked! And I'm not uncomfortable around you. And I'm not vain."

Seth: "You're a terrible liar."

Seth: "You're upset over this afternoon. Were you jealous, Alex?"

My jaw hit the floor

Alex: "I'm confused to why you think I'd be jealous."

Seth gave me a knowing look.

Seth: "Perhaps you're jealous of Elena?"

I picked up a cute sweater I'd bought before we'd gone into lockdown.

Alex: "What? Me, jealous of Elena and her Tinkerbell hair - don't think so."

He stretched over and tugged the sweater out of my hand

Seth: "Oh. Catty, aren't you?"

Alex: "Not at all. If I'd only known about your Peter Pan complex, I would've introduced you two sooner."

I reached for it, but he rolled it up into a ball and tossed the sweater across the room.

Alex: "Ugh! You are so annoying!"

Seth: "Just admit you're jealous. That's the first step, and the second step is doing something about it."

I glared at Seth

Alex: "I could care less what - or who - you do in your spare time."

Then something struck me.

Alex: "Wait. You know what? This is messed up."

Seth: "Do tell."

Alex: "Everyone jumps me about how every single thing I do is a reflection upon you, but you're doing people in the garden! How is that okay?"

Seth: "You make it sound so distasteful. Don't knock it until you try it. Oh. Wait. You haven't tried anything, have you, my little virgin Apollyon?"

I swung out at him as hard as I possibly could. Anticipating my reaction, Seth caught my hand. His eyes flashed dangerously as he tugged me forward. My own momentum caused me to stumble. I ended up falling forward. Seth twisted into his side and circled his arms around me

Seth: "Always hitting. I think we should work on your manners."

Alex: "Oh, come on. You're wrinkling all my clothes, you jerk-face."

Alex: "Wait. Wait one second, Seth. If you can feel my emotions or whatever when I'm spazzing out, then I should be able to feel yours."

Seth: "Right, but not -"

Alex: "Oh. My. Gods. I have felt you."

Seth's brows rose slowly

Seth: "No way, I know how to shield myself so that I'm not broadcasting my every wish and desire like you."

Alex: "Oh. No. You are so wrong."

My cheeks burned just thinking about it. The nights I'd felt all hot and tingling - and right before I'd walked in on him and Elena - it wasn't just my overactive horomones.

Alex: "Oh, this sucks."

Seth: "What are you talking about?"

Alex: "I've felt you a couple of times - at night. Like when you're doing ... your thing."

He gave a short laugh, and then it seemed to hit him. His mouth dropped open

Seth: "Doing my thing?"

Alex: "Yeah. Just forget I said anything."

Seth: "No. Not likely. What did you feel?"

This really did suck. It was also mortifying and beyond freaky.

Alex: "You know, fooling around. I've felt ... you then."

Seth stared at me so long I thought he lost the ability to speak. Then when I was just starting to get worried, he threw his head back and laughed. Really loudly - and he didn't stop.

I gaped at him

Alex: "It's not funny!"

Seth: "Oh, it's probably the funniest damn thing I've heard in a long time. This is great."

Alex: "It's not great. What kind of connection is this? A one-way hotline to Pervyville? It's disgusting. Freaky - stop laughing, Seth!"

Seth: "I can't. Of all the times for you to connect with me, and it had to be then? Damn Alex, I didn't know you're such a peeping -"

I hit him hard on the arm. It wasn't a playful tap. It would bruise.

Seth: "Jeez. And you're so violent. Do you know how hot -"

I swung at him again, but this time Seth was prepared. He dodged my fist and caught me around the waist. Before I could even break his hold, he flipped me onto my back. This time he hovered above me, arms planted on either side of my head.

Seth: "This is priceless."

Alex: "You are so annoying."

Alex: "Field experience! I knew it."

Aiden looked at me strangely.

Aiden: "I guess you can consider this field experience."

Alex: "So what are we going to do? Trail some daimons back to their hive? I have to admit, I'm not really good at the whole tailing thing. I'm more -"

Aiden: "I know. You're more of an action girl instead of a sit-and-be-quiet girl."

Alex: "I don't deserve this."

Aiden: "Yes, you do. I think you deserve a break from everything. You've been working so hard, pulling double - triple - duty. And you really don't complain -"

I shot round, facing him.

Alex: "I complain. I complain all the time."

Shaking his head, Aiden laughed

Aiden: "I stand corrected."

Alex: "But I've been in so much trouble. I threw an apple at Lea's face. I fought guards. I cheated on my trig exam."

Aiden looked at me, frowning.

Aiden: "You cheated on your math exam?"

Alex: "Uh, forget that."

Aiden: "We also need to keep this a secret. We can't let anyone find out."

I nodded

Alex: "Of course. I won't say a single word. I just can't believe you remembered this."

Aiden: "I remember everything you say."

Alex: "Anyway, screw what anyone thinks. Who cares, right?"

Aiden: "Yeah, who cares? We're at the zoo. Screw them."

Alex: "Yeah, screw them."

Aiden: "Mortals scare me."

Alex: "What?"

I laughed in disbelief.

Aiden: "They do. They're unpredictable creatures. You don't know if they're going to hug you or stab you. They're ruled by emotions."

Alex: "And we're not."

Aiden: "No. They - I mean, we're taught to control our emotions. To not let them be what guides our decisions. Everything in our world - both of our worlds - is about logic and continuing our races. You know that. But you seem to be at ease around all of them. You have more experience dealing with them than I do."

I nodded, turning back to the cage

Alex: "I blended in, but i never fit in. They can sense something off about us. That's why no one will get too close to us."

Aiden: "I cannot possibly imagine you blending in."

Alex: "Why? I think I did a damn good job of going unnoticed for three years."

Aiden: "I just can't. No one is like you, Alex."

I grinned

Alex: "I'll take that as a compliment."

Aiden: "It is. You're incredibly intelligent, Alex. Funny and ..."

Alex: "Pretty?"

Aiden: "No, not pretty."

Alex: "Cute?"

Aiden: "No."

I frowned

Alex: "Well, then."

Aiden's laugh sent shivers through me,

Aiden: "I was going to say 'stunning.' You're stunningly beautiful."

Alex: "I like animals."

Aiden: "That's why you practically choked yourself in the car?"

I cringed

Alex: "You noticed that, huh? My mom loved animals, too. She said one that we were a lot like the ones in the cages. Well fed and taken care of, but caged nonetheless. I never agreed with that."

Aiden: "You don't?"

Alex: "Nope. Here the animals are safe. Out in the wild, they'd be killing one another or being poached. I know they've lost their freedom, but sometimes things have to be sacrificed."

Aiden: "That's a strange perspective for you to have."

Alex: "You mean it's a strange perspective for a half-blood to have. I know. Bit we all have to sacrifice something to gain something else."

Alex: "If you weren't a pure, what would you be doing right now? Like, what would you want to do with your life?"

Aiden glanced down at our hands and then his gaze flicked to mine

Aiden: "Right this instant? I'd be doing a hell of a lot more than what I'm allowed to do."

Aiden: "I know how brave you are, Alex. But you don't always have to be. It's okay every once in a while to let someone else be brave for you. There;s no loss of dignity in that. Not for you. You've already proven that you have more dignity than even a pure-blood can muster."

Alex: "You must be high off sugar or something."

Aiden laughed

Aiden: "You just don't see what we see, Alex. Even the times you're being utterly ridiculous about something or when you're just standing around, doing nothing, it's hard to not notice. As a pure-blood it's the last thing I should notice. I don't think you have a clue."

Alex: "What don't I have a clue about?"

Aiden: "Ever since I've met you, I've wanted to break every rule."

Aiden turned away, the muscles in his neck tensing. He sighed.

Aiden: "You'll become the center of someone's world one day. And he'll be the luckiest son of a bitch on this earth."

Alex: "I love you."

Aiden jerked back, eyes wide.

Aiden: "No. Alex. Don't say that. You can't ... you can't love me."

Alex: "But I do."

His face was tight, as if he was experiencing some terrible pain. Then he closed his eyes and leaned in, pressing his lips against my forehead. He lingered there a few moments before pulling back. His chest rose and fell as I stared at him.

Aiden scrubbed the palms of his hands over his eyes and let out another ragged breath.

Aiden: "Alex ..."

Alex: "Oh, gods. I never should have said that."

Aiden: "It's okay. It's all right."

Okay? It didn't seem okay. And okay and all right weren't what I wanted to hear. I wanted him to say he loved me, too. Wasn't that what was said after a declaration of love? Not okay. I knew he cared about me and he wanted me in the physical sense, but he wasn't saying those three little words.

And those three words were so important. They changed everything,

Piperi: "Child, that rose ain't going to ease your heart. Move on? Let go? Stay on the path your heart has chosen? Ain't nothing easy when the heart has laid claim."

My eyes popped open

Alex: "You have for to be kidding me."

Piperi: "Do you know why a heart lays claim? Survival. That heart lays its claim to ensure survival of its kind."

Piperi: "Your momma wanted to save you - save you from your fate. If she hadn't, you'd be nothing but a memory and a fear long forgotten. Just like all you who mix the breeds. What they want you two for, what they planned."

She shook her head again and when she looked at me, sorrow etched across her face.

Piperi: "They fear you, fear what comes from you. I told you, child. I told you that your path was filled with dark things that much be done."

Piperi: "Listen to me, child. Fate is afoot. Things cannot be undone. Fate h as looked into the past and into the future. History is on repeat, but this is the time to press 'stop.' To chance everything."

Alex: "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm sorry. You're not making -"

Piperi: "Listen to me!"

Alex: "I'm listening! But could you speak a coherent sentence for once?"

Piperi: "I ain't nothing no more. You must see what I've shown you. Hear what I have spoken. Nothing is what it seems. Evil hides in the shadows, plotting its plans while you fear the daimons."

Alex: "I don't fear daimons."

Piperi: "You should fear those who follow the old ways. Those who do not seek chance and cannot allow things to continue as they are. And what a path, what a path the Powers have chosen. The end, the end is near. He, will see to it."

I rolled my eyes

Alex: "Oh, for the love of the gods, this makes no sense."

Piperi: "You don't get it. Listen to me."

She poked me in the chest with one bony finger

Piperi: "You must make a choice between what is fated and what is unknown."

Alex: "Ow!"

She jabbed me again.

Alex: "Hey! Knock it off!"

Piperi: "Take the risk or suffer the consequences! You must not accept gifts from those who seek to destroy you."

Alex: "Or candy."

Piperi: "You must stay away from the one who brings nothing but heartache and death. Do you hear me? He brings nothing but death. Always has. Know the difference between need and love, fate and future. If you don't everything your momma sacrificed will be for naught."

Alex: "Who is he?"

Piperi: "He is not what he seems. He has them all fooled - has him fooled. Poor child doesn't see it. He doesn't see it, and it has sealed his fate."

She sighed

Piperi: "That one plays both sides. You don't know - you wouldn't know."

Seth: "She poofed? Seriously?"

Alex: "Yes, she poofed. Like she was there one second, and the next she was a pile of dust."

Seth: "We just don't poof, Alex. That doesn't happen."

Alex: "Well, it did. She poked me in my chest with her bony fingers and said some crazy stuff. Then she poofed!"

Seth's brows flew up and he laughed again

Seth: "What have you been doing today? Smoking something?"

Addressing Marcus, I threw up my hands.

Alex: "Does he have to be here?"

Lucian: "He is where I need him to be. And I need him here."

Alex: "Can he shut up, at least? There's no valuable need for him to comment on everything that comes out of my mouth!"

Seth: "I'm commenting on everything because it sounds like you've smoked some crack."

Seth: "Sure. Sure. Go on, Alexandria. Tell us how she poofed again."

Alex: "I've already explained it. It's pretty easy to understand. Even for you. Or did you wake up on the wrong side of stupid this morning?"

Aiden: "Alex. Just talk to Marcus."

Alex: "Sorry. If he says one more word to me, I'm going to take that dagger off that wall and shove it through his eye."

Seth: "Well, that's brave for a little Apollyon in training. If you want to try it, I'm game."

Marcus: "Seth!"

Alex: "You know what? I bet your mother wanted to drown you after you were born."

Marcus: "Alexandria! Would you two -"

Seth: "And there's a reason why mothers turn daimon and try to kill their daughters."

I shot across the room, aiming right for the dagger behind Marcus's desk. Aiden cut me off.

Aiden: "Don't. Just ignore him."

Alex: "Don't tell me what to do. I want the dagger so I can cut him."

Seth: "Cut me? What are you - a street thug Apollyon about to shank me?"

Lucian: "So much passion between you two. Can be expected, I imagine. You two are one and the same. Let them go. We can continue this conversation without any more interruptions, entertaining as they are."

Alex: "What?"

Lucian: "Let them go. Alexandria has already told us what has happened. The oracle has passed and another has come into power. Let them work through their lovers' quarrel in private."

Even Seth's eyes widened at that.

Something ridiculously stupid sprung alive in my chest. Aiden was jealous?

Alex: "You know what?"

I shot Aiden a defiant look.

Alex: "Let's go. Come on, Seth. Let's go continue our lovers' quarrel."

Seth: "Yes, my love, that sounds absolutely fantastic. Don't forget a dagger so you can poke my eyeball out."

Seth: "I'm going to ask you one more time, Alex. What were you doing today?"

Alex: "Or what? What are you going to do? And why do you even care?"

Seth: "Because the emotions you were feeling today were outrageous."

Alex: "Gods, this day will never end. Who cares?"

Seth: "I care because you were supposed to be training with Aiden today, and there is no reason you'd be feeling those kind ... Oh. No, no, no."

Alex: "What?"

Seth: "You wouldn't. Wait. What am I saying? You would do something so incredibly stupid."

Alex: "Uh ... gee, thanks."

Seth: "Please tell me I'm wrong. Tell me that you are not messing around with a godsdamned pure-blood. Damn it, Alex. Him? My gods, it explains so much."

He laughed harshly

Seth: "Now I know why he hates me, at least. Why he's always on you. I just figured it was in the figurative sense and not literal. What the hell are you thinking? What is he thinking? You're going to throw everything away! Your future - my future - and for what? To get more pure in you?"

Alex: "You don't have a clue what you're talking about! I'm not messing around with Aiden."

Seth: "Don't you date lie to me about something like this! You can't do this, Alex. I will not allow this to continue."

Alex: "No. No! Seth, stop! Please. Please listen to me. It's not what you think!"

Seth: "It's not about what I think. It's what I felt today!"

Alex: "Nothing happened between Aiden and me. Okay? I do care about him, all right? I know it's wrong. I know it's stupid, but nothing is going on between us."

Seth: "What I felt from you today wasn't nothing, Alex. You're still lying to me."

Alex: "Okay. We kissed, but - stop! Listen to me. We did kiss, but it's nothing. It was stupid - a mistake. It's nothing to get all bent out of shape over. Okay?"

Seth: "You ... you love him, don't you?"

I stared at him, my heart thumping loudly

Alex: "No. No, of course I don't."

Seth: "Alex ... Alex, you're insane."

Leon: "Miss Andros."

Alex: "Yeah?"

Leon: "You're no supposed to be in here."

Alex: "Come on."

Caleb: "She's not bothering anyone."

Leon: "Up."

Caleb: "One of these days, you'll be able to stay out and play. Then everything will be right in our world."

Alex: "Leon, can I have a playdate with my friends?"

Leon: "Perhaps you'd be allowed to have playdates if you stayed out of trouble for a whole week."

Caleb: "I guess that's a no. So now you know what to do. Stay out of trouble for a whole week, Alex. A whole week."

Alex: "That's not true. I don't need Seth."

Aiden: "You don't need me, Alex."

Alex: "Is ... this because of what I told you at the zoo? Why you don't want to train me anymore?"

Aiden's lean body tensed again, and a muscle in his jaw jumped.

Aiden: "Yes, that has something to do with it."

A crack in my heart started

Alex: "Because ... because I said I loved you?"

He made a deep sound in his throat

Aiden: "And because I don't ..."

He paused, looking away

Aiden: "I don't feel the same way about you. I can't. Okay? I can't let myself love you. If I did, I would take everything from you - everything. I can't do that to you. I won't do that to you."

Alex: "What are you -?"

Seth: "Shh. I'm watching the movie."

Alex: "So ... uh, you're a Team Edward kind of guy?"

He snorted

Seth: "No. I'm Team James or Team Tyler's van, but apparently neither of them won by the look of it. She's still alive."

Caleb: "Are you going to get out of this bed at some point today?"

He nudged me with his knee when I didn't respond

Caleb: "Alex, it's almost seven and you haven't budged."

Alex: "I don't have anything to do."

Caleb: "Have you even showered?"

I rolled over, shoving my face into my pillow.

Alex: "No."

Caleb: "That's kind of gross."

Alex: "Uh-huh."

A second later his cell made this annoyingly shrill sound from the table next to my bed, and the textbook smacked the floor. I didn't move. Caleb climbed over me, shoving his elbow into my back.

Alex: "Gods! Ouch."

Caleb: "Shush."

Alex: "Geez, you weigh a ton. Who is it? Olivia?"

Caleb: "Yeah, she wants to know what the smell is radiating up to her room."

Alex: "Shut up."

Caleb: "Seriously, she wants to know if you've showered. You know, you're kind of comfortable. You're getting some extra cushion, Alex."

Alex: "Am not, you douche."

Caleb: "Look, I just say here for the entire day while you stared up at the ceiling like an idiot. You're getting out of this bed, taking a shower, and we're going to have a movie night in your dorm. Then Olivia and I are going to leave and engage in wild animal sex. End of discussion."

Alex: "Ew, that's an image I never wanted embedded in my memory. Thanks."

Alex: "Do you think ... was I being stupid for, you know, the stuff with Aiden?"

Caleb leaned over, pressing his cheek against mine.

Caleb: "Yes, it was and is stupid. But I still love you."

I laughed

Alex: "Okay. Fine."

He rolled off me, resting on his side.

Caleb: "You serious?"

Alex: "Yeah. But I need to shower first."

Caleb: "Thank the gods. You stink."

I punched his arm and swung off the bed.

Alex: "Still smell better than you, but I love you nonetheless."

Caleb fell back

Caleb: "I know. You'd be lost without me."

It was like Caleb had fallen into Olivia's mouth; they were kissing that deeply. Rolling my eyes, I plucked the Twizzler out of my mouth and threw it at the back of Caleb's head. He turned around, running a hand through his hair. Looking down, he spotted the candy on the floor.

Caleb: "Gross. That's really gross, Alex."

Olivia: "You tasted kind of sour and sweet, baby."

Alex: "Oh, Gods. That was lame."

Alex: "Olivia, I pray to the gods you haven't forgotten your booster shot. 'Cuz you guys are so about to make some babies."

I wrapped my arm around his waist as he started to fall.

Alex: "Caleb! No. No! Caleb, look at me!"

He opened his mouth bu no words came out. His weight carried us both to the cold, dirty ground. Those bright blue eyes dulled, fixed on some unseen point.

Alex: "No. No no no. This isn't supposed to happen. We were just getting soda. That's all. Please! Caleb, wake up."

But he didn't wake up. Some part of my brain that was still functioning told me that people who died didn't wake up. They never woke up again. And that Caleb was dead. He w as gone before he even hit the ground. Pain - so sharp and so real - cut through me, taking away a chunk of my soul.

The universe ceased to exist. There were no daimons, no Lea. There was just Caleb - my best friend, my partner is dysfunction, the only person who got me. My shaky fingers slipped over his boyishly shaped cheeks to his neck, to where his pulse no longer beat. A piece of my world ended just then, gone forever with Caleb. I pulled him into my lap, pressing my cheek against his. I thought that maybe, if I held him long enough and wished hard enough, all of this would be just another nightmare. That I'd wake up, safe in my bed, and Caleb would still be alive.

Seth: "Why ... why do you always act like this? Why? Why did you do this to yourself? All of this could've been avoided."

Alex: "I know. Please ... please don't be angry with me."

Seth: "I'm not angry with you, Alex. Okay, maybe a little."

He moved slightly, pressing his head against mine.

Seth: "How could you do this to yourself? You - you of all people should have known better."

I felt the tears start to well up again.

Alex: "I'm sorry. We didn't -"

Seth: "You could have died out there Alex - or worse. Do you know what I thought when I felt your panic?"

Alex: "I'm sorry -"

Seth: "Sorry wouldn't have done a damn thing if I'd lost you, and for what?"

He grasped the sides of my face, turning my head so I had no other choice but to face him. His eyes searched mine

Seth: "Why? Is it because of what happened with Aiden?"

Alex: "No. I did it because I was being stupid. We just wanted to get some drinks. I didn't think anything would happen. If I could change it, I would. I would do anything."

Seth: "Alex."

Seth closed his eyes

Alex: "I mean it. I would do anything to change what happened! Caleb - he didn't deserve that. I did know better. If we'd stayed in my room, he would still be alive. I know that."

Seth: "Alex, please."

Alex: "I know I acted stupid. And if I could go back, I would. I'd switch places with him. I would -"

Seth: "Stop. Please stop crying."

Alex: "I'm so sorry. I want to take it all back. I want a do-over, because I can't do this again."

He made a strangled sound as he pulled me to his chest, holding me there until my heart stopped racing and the tears subsided.

Seth: "You have to do this again and you don't get a do-over, Alex. None of us do. You can only move forward from here, and the first step is going to his funeral."

Alex: "I know."

Seth: "You're going to thank me, aren't you?"

Alex: "Well ... I was. Not so sure about that now."

Seth: "Come on. I want to actually hear you say it. It'll probably be your first and last time."

Alex: "Thank you for staying with me. And I'm sorry for being such a bitch toward you."

Seth: "Did you just call yourself a -"

Alex: "Yes, I did, because I am one. You didn't deserve it when I yelled at you ... about Caleb."

Seth: "I deserve a lot of things."

Alex: "Not that."

Aiden: "I never said I didn't care about you, Alex. I said I couldn't love you."

Alex: "Why'd you lock it?"

Seth: "I can't have Marcus just walking in on us. What if I want to snuggle on these cold New York nights?"

My frown increased

Alex: "We don't snuggle."

Seth: "How about we cuddle?"

Alex: "We don't do that either."

Seth: "But you're my cuddle bunny. My little Apollyon cuddle -"

I punched him in the side.

Seth: We could always practice? I'm feeling froggy - haven't thrown fireballs at anyone's head lately."

Alex: "That sounds more interesting than watching a bunch of pures postulate how great they and their laws are."

Hector: "I will kill anyone who dares to take her."

Telly: "You would stand against your own kind - for a half-blood?"

Hector: "Yes. I would for the woman I love."

Seth: "I'm not a terrible person, Alex."

Alex: "I didn't say you were a terrible person."

Seth smiled tightly

Seth: "Then why would you think I'd like to see you hurt? And I know you're hurting.

Alex: "Look, I'm sorry. I'm just out of it."

Seth: "That's the second time you've apologized to me. Wow."

Alex: "It'll be the last."

Telly: "Many rumors have spread, claiming you have already killed daimons. I am curious if this is true. How many daimons have you killed?"

Alex: "I've killed three."

Telly: "Oh. Impressive. And how many innocent people have you thrown into harms way? Or gotten killed?"

Aiden: "Seth? Isn't it time for Alex's practice?"

Seth: "Why, yes. Excuse us, Minister Telly, but we must -"

I met Telly's icy stare

Alex: "One."

Telly: "One what,dear?"

Alex: "I've gotten one innocent person killed, and I don't know how many I've put in harm's way - maybe dozens."

Seth swore under his breath

Alex: "You know what, you need to stay out of my bedroom. You have your own."

He smiled

Seth: "I know I do. I see it quite often. I just prefer your bed. It smells better."

I made a face

Alex: "It smells better? What does your bed smell like? Regret and bad taste?"

Alex: "One of my instructors at the Covenant has a tattoo of it on his arm."

His lips pursed

Seth: "Minister Telly has one on his arm, too."

Alex: "How in the world do you know that? Have you been sneaking into his room and cuddling with him, too?"

Seth: "Don't be jealous. You're my only cuddle bunny."

Seth: "Maybe after practice I'll show you my balls of -"

I chucked the water bottle at the back of Seth's head. He spun around and caught it before it connected.

Seth: "Not nice."

Seth threw the bottle to the floor

Alex: "Five minutes are up."

I bounced back a few steps grinning

Cross elbowed his friend

Cross: "Hundred dollars they end up in a fight to the death by week's end."

Will: "Who'd you think would win?"

Cross: "I'd put my bets on that one."

Cross jerked his head at me

I tossed my head back, smiling at Seth.

Alex: "Me."

Seth looked bored

Boobs: "Oh no, I'd say the First would come out on top."

My smiled faded and I decided to ignore them. I turned to Seth

Alex: "Ready, sweetheart?"

Seth: "I'm always ready for you, cuddle bunny."

Alex: "I wonder what he'd think of me. That sounded so stupid."

Laadan: "No, not at all. He'd be proud of you, Alexandria. I hope you know that."

Alex: "Well, I am an Apollyon."

Laadan: Not because of what you'll become, but because of who you already are."

Alex: "You like to hear yourself talk, don't you?"

Seth: "Why, yes. Yes I do."

Alex: "That's why you don't have any friends."

Seth: "And the last time i checked, I'm your only friend."

Seth: "Angel, that's like Apollyon foreplay right there."

Alex: "For real?"

Seth: "For real."

He reached out and brushed a strand of hair off my cheek

Alex: "I didn't know that. My bad, but that's kind of weird. Usually takes more with most guys."

Seth: "Does it, Angel? Well, what does it take?"

Alex: "I think you of all people would know."

Seth: "I have a secret to tell you. It's not Apollyon foreplay; I'm just messing with you. I have no clue what that was."

Alex: "Gods, I hate you."

Alex: "The Council's precious Apollyon."

They hadn't been Seth's words, but he was the only target I had. He barely dodged me.

Alex: "This 'precious Apollyon' is going to shove her foot so far up his -"

Seth caught my fist

Seth: "Alex, if you don't take it down a notch we're going to stop. I don't' know why I agreed to spar with you when you're in this kind of mood."

I rubbed my aching rear

Alex: "Your fault."

Seth: "You're never going to let me forget that, are you?"

Alex: "You dropped m on my butt.:

He tipped his head back, laughing softly

Seth: "I blame the wine coolers."

Alex: "I blame Boobs."

Marcus: "Alexandria, what have I told you time and time again?"

Lucian: "Enough. It is in the past now. It is done."

Marcus: "It just happened, and this one here threatened the Master with akasha for crying out loud! He is lucky that the Master didn't report him."

Lucian: "What did you expect? He will defend what is his."

I sent my stepfather a death glare

Alex: "I am not his. Would you please stop referring to me as a possession instead of a person."

Aiden: 'You still show so much strength. No other half-blood would have done what you did."

Alex: "I don't know why you keep saying that."

Aiden: "It's the truth, Alex. And I'm not even talking about what you did for the half-blood. It's what you just did in there. I know damn well what it took for you to apologize and say what you did. That took strength."

Alex: "It wasn't strength. I was scared out of my mind, actually. Maybe a little irrational, you know?"

Aiden: "I was wrong."

Alex: "Wrong about what?"

Aiden: "About a lot of things, but I always thought your irrational nature was a flaw. It's not. It's what makes you so strong."

I guess there were two types of people in the world, those who sat around fire, staring into the flames, and those who started the fire.

Seth and I started the fire, and then we danced around it.

Seth: "You were staring at him like an ugly chick stares at the last cute guy at the bar when they make the last call."

I choked on my laugh

Alex: "Oh. Wow. Thanks."

Seth: "Do you remember the last thing I told you in training?"

Alex: "You tell me a lot of stuff in training. Honestly, I don't pay attention."

He snorted

Seth: "You do wonders for my self-esteem."

Alex: "Damn. Well, I guess you have to be better than me at something. Congratulations."

Seth: "I'm always better than you. I'm -"

Alex: "Egotistical? Narcissistic?"

Seth: "I have some words for you, too. How about stubborn? Impudent?"

Alex: Was 'impudent' your word choice of the day?"

He put his finger on my lips

Seth: "Well, yes, it is. I could even use it in a sentence if you like."

Seth: "You know what?"

His breath was warm against my cheek.

Seth: "There are a lot of stupid things to do, but I really want to do the stupidest thing possible."

Alex: "What's that?"

Seth: "I want to kiss you."

Alex: "That is crazy. I'm not Elena ... or any other number of girls."

Seth: "I know. Maybe that's why I want to."

Alex: "You don't want to kiss me."

Seth: "But I do."

Alex: "No, you don't."

Seth: "Are you arguing with me over what I want?"

Alex: "You're arguing with me."

Seth: "Your ridiculous."

I felt him smile as his lips brushed over the line of my jaw, over the bruise.

Seth: "It's such an annoying quality, yet strangely endearing."

Seth: "Do you know how amusing I find out?"

His hand left my waist, smoothed down over my hip and thigh. Jerking back, I grabbed for his hand. Too late, he hooked my leg around his.

Alex: "What are .. you doing?"

Seth: "Do you know why I think you're so amusing?"

He slid the hand over my thigh

Alex: "Why?"

Seth: "Because I know how badly you want me to kiss you."

Seth cupped my chin, tipping my head back with his other hand.

Seth: "If you have this epic love for Aiden, why did you want to kiss me as badly as you did?"

Alex: "I didn't kiss you, Seth! That should answer your question right there!"

Seth: "you wanted to. Trust me, I know you did. You really wanted to."

Alex: "I don't know what I want! How do you know, Seth? How do you know it's not the damn connection between us instead of something real?"

The anger faded from Seth's eyes, replaced by surprise

Seth: "You think it's just the connection? Do you really think that's all I feel for you?"

Alex: "You say it yourself all the time! Anytime you do something nice for me, you say it's the connection forcing you to do so."

Seth: "Did you ever consider that I was joking?"

Alex: "No! Why would I? You said the connection would grow stronger between us. That's why you want to kiss me! It's not real!"

Seth: "I know why I want to kiss you, Alex, and it has nothing to do with either of us being Apollyons. And apparently it has nothing to do with your common sense, either."

Alex: "Oh, shut up. I'm done talking -"

Seth: "I know exactly why. I can't believe I'd even have to spell it out for you."

Alex: "You don't have to."

Seth: "You're the most frustrating person I know."

I rolled my eyes

Alex: And that makes you want to kiss me? You're twisted."

Seth: "Do you feel the connection between us right now?"

Alex: "Not really, but I don't know what it feels -"

Seth grasped the sides of my face and brought my mouth to his.

His eyes zeroed in on my movements before he broke away, running a hand over his head. He let out a ragged sound and when he spoke; his voice was so low I barely heard him.

Aiden: "I think ... I'll remember how you looked last night for the rest of my life. Gods, you were so beautiful."

Alex: "Wait a second. Are you suggesting that I wanted to be turned into something that evil? That I asked for it?"

Telly: "How do you think we'd interpret it?"

Alex: "Do you know that sounds like a rapist's motto? She wore a short skirt, therefore she wanted it?"

Telly: "Alexandria, you are out of line."

Alex: "You're telling me I'm out of line?"

Telly: "No one gave you leave."

Alex: "Oh, I'm not leaving."

All eyes were on me. I reached down and pulled my sweater up and over my head. There was a moment when no one seemed to breathe. I met the open mouthed stares; I'd think I didn't have a camisole on underneath the sweater by the looks on their faces.

Lucian: "What in the world are you doing, Alexandria?"

ignoring him, I stepped away from the chair and held my arms out in front of me.

Alex: "Does this look like something I wanted to go along with? That I asked for this?"

Against their will, dozens and dozens of eyes fastened on my arms. most gasped and shuddered, looking away quickly. Others didn't. As if they couldn't tear their eyes from the patchy red skin and its unnatural shine. I saw the proud tilt to Laadan's chin. A few rows in front of her I saw Dawn's horrified gaze. Further back, behind the Council members, Marcus paled. It kind of hit me that he's never seen my scars, only caught glimpses of the ones on my neck. I don't think he'd known how bad they were. I felt a hot flush crawl up my neck, but the stunned look of pride on Aiden's face gave me the confidence to face the Ministers.

I wondered what Seth's expression looked like. He was probably smiling. He loved it when I was irrational, and this was really irrational.

Alex: "They look like they hurt, don't they? They did. It's the worst kind of pain you can imagine."

Tell: "Alexandria, sit down. We get your point."

Tipping my head at the Ministers, I tried to keep the smile off my face

Alex: "So do you really think I went along with my mother? that I wanted this?"

Diana paled and looked away, shaking her head sadly.

A furious shade of red covered Telly's cheeks

Telly: "Are you done, Alexandria?"

Alex: "I guess so."

Aiden: "I don't like you - let alone trust you."

Seth: "You don't have any other options at this point. I won't let anything happen to her, Aiden. And I wouldn't ... take advantage of her."

I shot Seth a dirty look

Alex: "No one is taking advantage of me unless I want to be taken advantage of."

Aiden: "Out of the question."

Aiden: "If anything - anything happens to her -"

Seth: "I know. You'll kill me."

Aiden: "I'll do worse,"

Seth: "Oh, gods. It's starting."

Alex: "What's starting?"

Seth: "Go sit down, Alex. Seriously, go sit down."

Alex: "Why?"

Seth: "You look ridiculous, Alex."

Alex: "Yooooou look mooooooore ridiculous. You're brooding. Brooding doesn't fit you."

Seth: "This is going to be a long night."

Alex: "Maybe.

Seth: "Alex, please go sit down."

Alex: "I don't want to. Why do you keep moving away from me? Are you scared of me now?"

Seth: "Yes. Right now, I am."

I threw my head back, laughing

Alex: "The big bad Apollyon is afraid of me? I'm hot. Can't you open up a window?"

Seth spun around and went to the window.

Seth: "Why did I suggest this?"

Alex: "Because yooooou like me. You really, really like me. Gods, I need to drink this stuff more often. I feel awesome."

Groaning, he looked for the window lock.

Seth: "You won't later."

Alex: "Huh? You drank it before? You have! You dirty, dirty Apollyon."

I threw myself on the bed

Alex: "I love your bed. I love it so much I'd marry it if I could."

Seth laughed

Seth: "You'd marry my bed?"

Alex: "Mmm."

Seth stiffened and let our a strangled sound

Seth: "Please tell me you did not take off your clothes."

I giggled

Alex: "No."

He ran his hands over his head.

Seth: "I'm going to regret this. I'm so going to regret this."

Alex: "I'm not naked, you idiot. And you've been trying to see me naked since I met you."

Seth: "That may be the case, but not like this."

Alex: "Naked is naked."

Slowly, Seth turned around froze. His chest rose and fell unsteadily.

Seth: "Oh, for the love of the gods, Alex, where is your shirt?"

Alex: "I'm so hot. Just give me a shirt. Your shirt would work."

Seth: "Yes ... you're hot. I can tell."

Alex: "Kiss me?"

Seth tipped his head back, sighing loudly

Seth: "Alex, you don't want this. It's the drink."

Alex: "That's not true. Nothing's wrong with me. Don't you want to kiss me?"

Seth: "It's not about what I want. I'm not doing this when you're like this."

Alex: "I'm not drunk."

Seth: "You were just dancing like some wood nymph five minutes ago. You took off your shirt and not you're latched onto me like a little monkey. So don't tell me you're in complete control of yourself."

Alex: "You want to kiss me and you liked kissing me last night."

Seth: "Do you know why you feel this way right now? It has nothing to do with me or you. Someone wanted to ruin you, Alex. They wanted to get you on your back with some pure so you'd be removed from the Covenant and placed into servitude. Don't you get it? This - this is not you."

Alex: "No. this ism e, really me. Or the connection thingy, but who cares? I want you to kiss me again. I like you, Seth. I really don't know why. You're arrogant and rude, but I like you. Don't you like me?"

Seth: "Alex. I'm trying to be a good guy right now, and you're not helping."

Alex: "I don't want you to be a good guy."

He choked on his laugh.

Seth: "You are making this really hard."

I pressed against him

Alex: "You're making this harder."

Alex: "Oh. My. Gods. I want to die. Like right now."

Aiden: "Alex, it's okay."

Alex: "No, it's not. I'm going to kill someone."

Aiden: "I think you're going to have to get in line for that."

Aiden: "I wasn't leaving you alone. The drug was still in your system and I wasn't taking a risk on something else happening to you. You were sick again in the middle of the night. You don't remember that?"

Alex: "No. I don't remember that."

Aiden: "Probably a good thing, it was pretty rough."

Alex: "Great."

A brief smile appeared

Aiden: "You were .. talking a lot, too."

Alex: "This just keeps getting better. What did I sai?"

Aiden: "You told me you wanted to marry Seth's bed, and then you told me you'd marry me if I asked. After that, you started to -"

Alex: "Enough."

Aiden laughed

Aiden: "It was actually kind of cute."

Alex: "Things have just changed and ... he's been there for me."

A muscle started ticking along his jaw

Aiden: "And I haven't been. SO you decided to be with Seth?"

Alex: "No, you haven't been. But that's not why I'm with Seth."

Aiden: "Really? I find that hard to believe since you told me a few days ago you hated him."

Alex: "Why do you even care, Aiden? You can't - and don't - want me. And you even said you thought Seth cared about me. Or is this one of those lame lines like 'I don't want you but I don't want you with anyone else?' Because that's so not cool."

He dropped his hand

Aiden: "That is not what this is about, Alex. I just don't want to see you getting wrapped up in something ... so serious for the wrong reasons."

Alex: "You've told me we can't be together and - and I know. I know we can't, but -"

Aiden: "But that doesn't mean you should settle for Seth, Alex."

Alex: "I'm not settling for Seth!"

He quirked an eyebrow and held my glare with his own

Alex: "This isn't even about Seth. This is about you! You don't want to see me with him or anyone else! Because you still care about me!"

Aiden: "Of course I care for you."

Alex: "Tell me ... tell me that you feel the same way I do about you, because if you do ..."

Aiden inhaled sharply

Aiden: "I won't."

Alex: "Or you can't?"

He shook his head again, eyes flickering shut. A quick grimace pulled at his lips, and then he looked me dead on

Aiden: "I don't."

I exhaled harshly, suddenly wanting to curl up in a ball and cry

Alex: "Okay."

Aiden: "Alex, I want -"

Alex: "No. I don't want to hear anything else."

I pushed off the bed

Alex: "What I have with Seth is none of your -"

A rush of dizziness made me stumble.

Aiden: "Alex?"

Aiden moved around the bed, reaching for me.

Alex: "Don't! Don't pretend you care. That takes douchebaggery to a whole new level."

Aiden stopped, opening and closing his hands.

Aiden: "Good point."

Ignoring Aiden and the need to wait like a baby, I started the mortifying search for my clothes. I gathered up my jeans and hoodie, tucking them under my arm.

Aiden: "I think this belongs to you."

Cursing under my breath, I turned around. Aiden dangled something black, small and flimsy from his fingertips. Color burst across my face. I snatched it out of his hand.

Alex: "Thanks."

Aiden didn't smile

Aiden: "It's my pleasure."

Alex: "Does that hurt?"

Seth: "Don't you think that's a stupid question?"

Alex: "Do you want another black eye?"

Seth: "I think I prefer the drunken version of you. She's much nicer."

Seth: "I'm sorry. I felt you this morning. You were embarrassed and upset, and then so angry. I'm sorry for putting you through that. I should have ... restrained myself."

Alex: "That had nothing to do with you, Seth."

Seth: "Why are you trying to make me feel better?"

Alex: "Seth, I'm embarrassed. I danced around your room and molested you. So yeah, I'm a bit embarrassed about that. But the other things you picked up on? That was because of Aiden."

Seth: "Isn't it always about Aiden? Did he finally profess his undying love for you?"

I laughed brokenly

Alex: "Not quite."

Seth: "My eye socket had a hard time believing that."

Marcus: "Alex, you're coming with me."

I scowled

Alex: "I'm not hiding in a room with a bunch of freaked-out pures."

Aiden: "Don't be ridiculous."

Alex: "Can I be irrational instead?"

Aiden looked like he wanted to shake me ... or worse.

Marcus: "Alex, do not argue with us. You are going in that room."

Alex: "I can fight if one of you would give me one of those neat blades."

Seth grabbed my arm

Seth: "All right, little Apollyon - who is not completely trained and is on the verge of becoming annoying - go with your uncle."

Alex: "Great. You're like herpes. The gift that just keeps on giving."

Alex: "No. You can't do this. I won't allow it. You won't die -"

Aiden spun around and grasped my shoulders

Aiden: "I will do this and you will allow this. Please, for once, don't fight with me. Just do as I say. Please."

Alex: "Don't do this."

Aiden: "I have to. I told you before I'd never let anything happen to you. I meant it."


Check out the rest of the Covenant Series below


And check out the spin-off series, Titan, below (18+)

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